Israel’s attack on Rafah hinders ceasefire talks, Qatar’s prime minister says

Israel’s attack on Rafah hinders ceasefire talks, Qatar’s prime minister says

Negotiations on a Gaza ceasefire and hostage release deal are “almost” deadlocked over “fundamental differences” between Israel and Hamas over ending fighting in the area, according to Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

“Of course, what happened with Rafah has set us back,” the leader said on Tuesday, referring to the escalation of Israeli attacks on the southern Gaza city ahead of a planned full-scale ground offensive.

“We will continue to push but it is in the hands of the parties at the end of the day.”
The two sides remained unable to agree on a “ground line” after a “very long” negotiation process, he said.

The prime minister, who also serves as the country’s foreign minister, said he did not think Israel was “considering” ending the war. Hamas has demanded a permanent ceasefire and a complete withdrawal from Gaza to free all hostages.

“There is one side that wants to end the war and then talk about hostages, there is another side that wants hostages and wants to continue the war,” he said at an economic conference in Doha.
Key mediator: The Arab country said last month that it was reconsidering its role as a central mediator between Israel and Hamas in a public declaration of dismay at criticism of its relationship with the Palestinian militant group. “We don’t want to be used or abused as middlemen,” said Al Thani.

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